Legal Blog

Think Only Criminals and Kids Shoplift? Think Again.

Author Clark & Noonan, LLC
Posted June 21, 2017
Category Theft and Property Crimes

Wall New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorneys serving Monmouth County, Ocean County, Middlesex County and all surrounding NJ areas.

Posted: October 13, 2013

Shoplifting is a crime, but the majority of shoplifters don’t even plan on stealing anything.

Only 25% of people who steal are kids — 75% are adults. Most shoplifters do not commit other crimes and do not plan ahead of time to steal — they may grab an item as a response to social and personal pressures in their life, or on an impulse. Both men and women steal items with men committing slightly more acts of theft (although men and women tend to take different types of merchandise.)

There are many reasons people shoplift, and no one profile of a shoplifter. However, when the act is impulsive, as is the case of most store thefts, it may be a case of momentary lapse in judgment, or a symptom of a mental health issue, or even just outside pressures.

Read these surprising statistics about shoplifting:

  • There are approximately 27 million shoplifters (or 1 in 11 people) in our nation today. More than 10 million people have been caught shoplifting in the last five years.
  • Shoplifters steal from all types of stores including department stores, specialty shops, supermarkets, drug stores, discounters, music stores, convenience stores, and thrift shops.
  • There is no profile of a typical shoplifter. Men and women shoplift about equally as often.
  • Approximately 25 percent of shoplifters are kids, 75 percent are adults. 55 percent of adult shoplifters say they started shoplifting in their teens.
  • Many shoplifters buy and steal merchandise in the same visit. Shoplifters commonly steal from $2 to $200 per incident depending upon the type of store and item(s) chosen.
  • Shoplifting is often not a premeditated crime. 73 percent of adult and 72 percent of juvenile shoplifters don’t plan to steal in advance.
  • 89 percent of kids say they know other kids who shoplift. 66 percent say they hang out with those kids.
  • Shoplifters say they are caught an average of only once in every 48 times they steal. They are turned over to the police 50 percent of the time.
  • Approximately 3 percent of shoplifters are “professionals” who steal solely for resale or profit as a business. These include drug addicts who steal to feed their habit, hardened professionals who steal as a life-style and international shoplifting gangs who steal for profit as a business. “Professional” shoplifters are responsible for 10 percent of the total dollar losses.
  • The vast majority of shoplifters are “non-professionals” who steal, not out of criminal intent, financial need or greed but as a response to social and personal pressures in their life.
  • The excitement generated from “getting away with it” produces a chemical reaction resulting in what shoplifters describe as an incredible “rush” or “high” feeling. Many shoplifters will tell you that this high is their “true reward,” rather than the merchandise itself.
  • Drug addicts, who have become addicted to shoplifting, describe shoplifting as equally addicting as drugs.
  • 57 percent of adults and 33 percent of juveniles say it is hard for them to stop shoplifting even after getting caught.
  • Most non-professional shoplifters don’t commit other types of crimes. They’ll never steal an ashtray from your house and will return to you a $20 bill you may have dropped. Their criminal activity is restricted to shoplifting and therefore, any rehabilitation program should be “offense-specific” for this crime.
  • Habitual shoplifters steal an average of 1.6 times per week.

For Help, Contact Our Defense Attorneys Today

If you have been charged with shoplifting, contact our law offices today for a free initial legal consultation.  A conviction means you may have to pay restitution and fines, you will have a criminal record and could be facing jail time or community service.

Source: (Used with permission) Information and statistics provided by the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention (NASP), a non-profit organization;

We Can Help 24/7

Free case review. Call 732-333-3011 or send us a message now.